Over the past decade, the commercial space landscape for mid-sized and large African companies has experienced a remarkable and dynamic shift. This transformation has been further accelerated by the profound impact of the pandemic, redefining the way we work. In response to these changes, architectural firms like Innovate Concepts have taken the lead, driving the creation of cutting-edge office spaces that prioritize flexibility, adaptability, and employee well-being, while nurturing collaboration and teamwork.
Leading the charge at Innovate Concepts is Adeyinka Dayo-Adepoju, Architect and Managing partner. For him, crafting remarkable workspaces goes beyond aesthetics; it is a mission to educate and encourage clients to invest in sustainable design. Yinka firmly believes in recognizing the long-term economic benefits that sustainable architecture offers.
Central to Yinka’s design philosophy is a strong emphasis on collaboration and client-centric solutions. This approach has proven tremendously successful in crafting spaces for high-value companies such as Wole Olanipekun & Co, Kobo360, Viathan engineering, 54GENE, where creativity and productivity thrive. Moreover, his profound understanding of Nigeria’s diverse climate conditions ensures that the sustainable commercial spaces he conceives provide a comfortable environment for employees.
In this exclusive interview with Ventures Africa, Adeyinka Dayo-Adepoju shares his journey, insights, and vision for the future of Innovate Concepts and sustainable architecture. Discover how his passion is transforming the architectural industry in Nigeria and beyond, and how his designs are paving the way for a more sustainable and culturally enriched environment.
Tell us a little bit about your background and what inspired Innovate Concepts
My initial interest in architecture was inspired by my childhood environment. I have always been immersed in architecture as my father is also an architect and the Founder of Innovate Concepts. This inspired my pursuit of architecture at the University of Oklahoma, where I earned my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in architecture. My first professional experience was an internship with the Facilities development arm of the Chicago schools. Upon graduation, I joined Corgan Associates in Dallas, Texas. This gave me the opportunity to be involved on several commercial projects, including the Dallas Fort Worth and Love Field Airports. Innovate Concepts has existed for 30 years and was inspired by the desire to tell the African story in the built environment.
How do you integrate eco-friendly elements into your designs for environmentally responsible commercial spaces?
The importance of natural light and ventilation when designing our spaces cannot be overstated. As part of our projects, we utilize motion-sensor LED bulbs, which reduce energy consumption and carbon footprint, At Innovate Concepts We incorporate elements such as permeable pavements in our landscape design, which minimizes flooding. The use of recyclable building materials is another way we reduce our carbon footprint. In our designs, we strive to reduce the footprint of buildings and preserve as many existing plants as possible.
Innovate Concepts has a focus on designing for mid-sized and large companies. What unique challenges do you face when designing commercial spaces that cater to the needs of these businesses?
As a result of the pandemic, the needs of businesses have changed. With some workers having the opportunity to work remotely from home, there is now a need for office spaces with amenities employees don’t have at home. We now design a workplace as a social anchor for human communication and connection. Most of our office layouts now include breakout areas, flexible office spaces, cafés, lounges, meeting rooms, games rooms, gyms etc. Ultimately, the goal is to support the employees’ physical and mental health as well as foster teamwork.
In the fast-paced business world, how do you design for flexibility and adaptability to meet the changing needs of businesses over time?
To allow for flexibility and adaptability we design spaces to be multi use, to have large floor to ceiling heights, we also incorporate wall partitions which can be easily altered. The use of adaptable furniture such as modular workstations, which can be reconfigured as needed, and conference tables which can be subdivided are some of the ways we help ensure our spaces can be easily adapted as needs change
How do you balance aesthetics, functionality, and sustainability in creating visually appealing yet practical spaces?
We always ensure there is a balance between form and function. Our designs take in to account the brief from the client to make sure the building serves its purpose while still being visually appealing. The surrounding context, which are the urban environment, culture, history and local climate are put in consideration to create a cohesive design.
You have worked with high-value companies like Wole Olanipekun & Co, Kobo360 and 54GENE. How do you approach designing spaces for such innovative and dynamic organizations to foster creativity and productivity?
Having a client centric approach is crucial for us. We focus on the brand of the company and make sure the brand shines through in all aspects of our design. In the design process we strive to create a variety of spaces, to allow our clients have personal spaces that employees can customize to fit their needs and preferences, social spaces for collaboration and bonding, and “thinking rooms” for when individuals need some peace and quiet.
Nigeria, and Africa as a whole is known for its diverse climate conditions. How do you take this into account when designing sustainable commercial spaces?
Understanding the path of the sun is vital. In West Africa for example, the sun is usually in the southern part of the sky during the day. We Design buildings with windows, shading devices, and openings that allow for natural ventilation while minimizing direct sunlight exposure. We utilize the Use of native and drought-resistant plants in landscaping to reduce water consumption and promote biodiversity. When selecting building materials we ensure that materials can withstand high temperatures, humidity, and heavy rainfalls.
How do you foster effective collaboration among your team members, clients, and other stakeholders to ensure successful outcomes for your projects?
At Innovate Concepts we ensure that the vision and goals are clear from the onset to make sure that all stakeholders are striving to achieve a common goal. We embrace an iterative process that allows us to react to feedback from team members and clients. We have Internal design charrettes that allow us to have collaborative meetings in which we fine tune our ideas and concepts.
As a lead architect, how do you stay up to date with the latest trends and advancements in sustainable architecture to bring innovative solutions to your clients?
Architecture is a field that constantly evolves with new materials, technologies, and design trends. I am constantly learning and staying updated with industry advancements to improve my knowledge and skills. I do this by reading books, attending seminars, taking online courses, getting new certifications and watching lots of YouTube videos.
What approach do you take to educate and encourage your clients to invest in sustainable design?
We start by looking at the numbers and educating the client on the Long term economic benefits of employing sustainable design strategies. Sustainable design strategies help reduce operating cost, increase property value and improve employee performance
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement in promoting sustainable architecture? And what future goals do you have for Innovate Concepts in this regard?
Our greatest achievement is being able to create spaces that the users look forward to returning to. We have had the opportunity to work in different parts of Nigeria; in the future we plan on being involved with projects across the globe.